LOS ANGELES – Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) spelled out his views on issues ranging from abortion to taxes Wednesday, in an exclusive call to the syndicated Sean Hannity (search) radio show, which also was broadcast live on Fox News Channel.
The Republican said he is in favor of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, abortion rights, an assault-weapons ban and background checks on gun purchases. He said he is opposed to offshore drilling, gay marriage and granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
Schwarzenegger described himself to Hannity as "pro-choice" but said he did not support late-stage procedures described as "partial-birth" abortions.
Asked whether he is in favor of parental notification when minors seek abortions, he replied, "I am. But in some cases when there is abuse in the family or problems in the family, then the courts should decide."
Asked about gay marriage, Schwarzenegger said, "I do support domestic partnerships" but added that he was against gay marriage. He said marriage should be between a man and a woman.
Schwarzenegger also said illegal immigrants already in the country should stay here, but he said it was a federal issue and a spokesman said he was not proposing an amnesty program.
Schwarzenegger supported Proposition 187 in 1994, which sought to deny many services to illegal immigrants, but he said Wednesday that the issue was history because courts had largely voided the measure.
Although his positions on social issues have nothing to do with ending California's financial crisis, which Schwarzenegger has said would be his main concern as governor, they are important because they could help him gain support from the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Schwarzenegger's comments to Hannity were his most detailed to date in his bid to replace Gov. Gray Davis (search) in the Oct. 7 recall election. But he did not give a position on affirmative action or Proposition 54, an initiative on the recall ballot that would ban collection of most racial data by state institutions. He also left open the possibility of raising taxes in an emergency situation.
The governor, meanwhile, signed a sweeping financial privacy bill Wednesday that gives California consumers the right to block banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions from sharing their personal information.
Asked whether he thought Schwarzenegger would make a good governor, Davis said the actor met the minimal age and state resident qualifications.
"Sometimes people want a little more," Davis said to chuckles from the traders around him at the Pacific Stock Exchange in San Francisco. "Like a little experience."
Some of Schwarzenegger's responses, including his opposition to gay marriage and his support of prayer in public schools, could play well with the state's conservatives. They so far have been wary of him and have supported state Sen. Tom McClintock (search), Schwarzenegger's main challenger among Republicans on the ballot.
His more liberal positions on abortion and marijuana, however, as well as his support for a ban on assault weapons, could undercut some of that support.
McClintock said he got the impression Schwarzenegger was becoming more conservative as the campaign moved along.
"I've been in the public arena for 20 years. Positions I've taken have not changed in 20 years," McClintock said. "I am pro-life; I believe in the right of people to self-defense. It's enshrined in the Second Amendment. And again, these are positions that people can count on."
Party leaders have expressed concerns that Davis could be recalled only to be replaced by Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante if Republicans split their votes. Secretary of state figures released Thursday show Democrats continue to hold an edge among registered voters, 44 percent to the GOP's 35 percent, despite a slight upturn in Republican registrations since last September.
Bustamante was not on the campaign trail Wednesday but he picked up the endorsement of the state's 48 Assembly Democrats who support his "no on recall, yes on Bustamante" strategy. Schwarzenegger announced he had won the endorsement of 20 of the state Assembly's 32 Republican lawmakers.
A recent Los Angeles Times poll showed Schwarzenegger leading fellow Republicans McClintock and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, but trailing Bustamante.
Schwarzenegger criticized Bustamante's self-titled "tough love" budget proposal, which combines cuts with new taxes on cigarettes and the wealthy.
"People have to realize that he's the same as Gray Davis. It's the same mold; nothing has changed," he said. "It will be exactly the same, which is, 'Oh we made a mistake, oh we want to continue spending.' How can we continue spending money that we don't have?"
McClintock immediately took Schwarzenegger to task for not completely ruling out raising taxes.
"The last time you want to raise taxes is in an emergency. That's why you maintain budget reserves," McClintock said immediately afterward on Fox News.
A debate among the major candidates will be held Sept. 30.
Despite predictions of massive voter interest in the recall election, figures so far indicate little significant registration growth, state and county elections officials said Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.